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The State of Internet Marketing 2008

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I had dinner with the legendary Marlon Sanders in Austin, TX last Summer.   We met at the Membership Bootcamp seminar.   Marlon was very personable.   It was a real pleasure meeting and hanging out with him.

Marlon’s quite famous in the Internet Marketing field for his innovations that have opened doors for the rest of us over the years.  And today, I’m going to share with you some of his insights on the state of Internet Marketing this year.

(printed with permission) 

“The State of Internet Marketing 2008 — 12 New Innovations You Should Know About and How They Fit Into The Basic Formula For Selling Products Online”

By Marlon Sanders

When you’re just starting your online business, here is the one key to your success:

You must develop a way to get visitors to your web site on a continual basis and get those visitors to join your list.

Giant product launches are certainly a great way to build a list fast.  But the business model I personally like is one that is more systems base.

I like things that run like clockwork.

Every day traffic comes to your site.  Every day some people buy and get on your list while others just opt in and get on your list.

Internet marketing isn’t some big, incomprehensible plan. It’s simple at core —

1.  You get eyeballs to your web site.
2.  You get ’em to join your list.
3.  Then send ’em content they’ll wanna read or watch. 
4.  And mix in product offers that make you money.

Originally, I was an advocate of just emailing offers to your list without sending an ezine or communications of value.

To me, the tide has shifted.  And you need to send emails to your list that contain value. 

The innovations you’re seeing center around new, different, better, easier or cheaper ways to do the above:

1.  I just bought a little ebook written by someone who is getting visitors to their site from Adbrite.com for a nickel each vs. much more expensive clicks on Google.

Adbrite is an advertising service you might wanna test vs. Google pay-per-click.  Google ad costs keep going up and the rules keep getting stricter.  So I think you’re going to see advertisers looking for easier and cheaper ways to get clicks.

That said, if you have the back end to support it, there’s nothing stopping you from buying massive clicks on Google and getting 30,000 opt ins in the next 12 months.

Of course, Jeff Walker would likely argue you could do the same thing in a few weeks with a good product launch and it wouldn’t cost you anything.  And, assuming you could pull it off, he would have a point.

Still, there’s something appealing about getting your ads running so you know that each week you’ll get X visitors, Y opt-ins and Z sales like clockwork.

I see a LOT of opportunity in advertising alternatives to Google. Google keeps making the rules tighter, MSN still isn’t as user friendly as you’d like.  With all of MSN’s money, you’d think they could create an interface that isn’t clunky.

So I think smaller marketers are just BEGGING for someone who understands them and their needs to come out with a way for them to advertise.

2.  Another ebook I bought in the last few weeks is written by someone who gets clicks from Zango.com, Whenu.com and other popup services.

I’m not big on some of the methods these sites use for reasons that are more complex than I have space to debate here.  But I think as clicks on Google get more and more expensive, and the rules for use get harder to comply with, small info product sellers will take a second look at alternatives like these.

One thing I CAN tell you is that roi reports I hear on these services is off the charts. People are getting 12X returns on their ad spends.  Compare THAT to Google!

3.  Another ebook I bought was by someone who uses social bookmarking to get free traffic.  So they get 9 or 10 Diggs, Delicious bookmarks and so forth. 

They’ve found that there is a certain mass of social bookmarks you need to get traffic.  The clicks are free, so it’s something to look at.

The single best report I’ve seen on the topic  by far is by http://bookmarkfrenzy.com

That’s NOT an affiliate anything.  I just thought it was a good report.

4.  Many people continue to innovate with different methods of article marketing. 

My concern on this is that the low quality of articles and the mass flooding of Google with questionable content will go the way of Traffic Equalizer sites.

Still, people are getting very creative with ways to outsource article writing and submission techniques.  My friend Kirt Christensen is a master at this. So is John Jonas.

5.  A lot of marketers are hiring people in countries like the Philippines to do repetitious activities that generate traffic.  Whether it’s social bookmarking or article marketing, I’m seeing a big trend in this direction.

6.  In terms of squeeze pages for list building, the breakthroughs I’m seeing are in how variables are passed through to the autoresponder service, so that emails can be more personalized.

Your ability to segment lists and communicate on a customized basis with your customers is STILL very limited.

Autoresponders still have almost no ability to perform decision tree actions.  So that if the customer opens X email, you then follow up with Y sequence and then in Y sequence if they open email #3, you drop them into sequence Q.

7.  Innovations in terms of content delivered to customers via email to obtain readership are mostly centered around video.

With the new improvements to Camtasia, including the ability to more easily zoom in and out during the presentation, you’re seeing more video.

8.  Lead generation on You Tube and Slideshare.net

I’ve seen information by marketers who claim to be getting great traffic and opt ins by uploading videos to You Tube.  I wonder what percent of the You Tube generation are buyers? But as You Tube becomes mainstream, I’d think the percent would increase.

It certainly doesn’t take long to create a 10-slide Power Point, drop in some audio and music, convert and upload to You Tube.

I’ve even heard of some people outsourcing the whole process.  There’s another site called Slideshare some are using because it’s a PR7 and gets good backlinks to Google.

9.  Web 2.0 is about having a 2-way communication with customers via interactive web sites. This isn’t the giant breakthrough it’s heralded as in that it isn’t easily scalable.

It’s not going to drive massive Internet growth. Creating interactive sites is expensive and not easy.  I see it more as a way that big players are using to create a barrier to entry vs. smaller players.

In other words, web 2.0 is NOT about scalability.  It’s the reverse.  It’s a squeeze play by larger businesses to try to get a barrier to entry vs. smaller businesses.

10.  People are using Web 2.0 properties like Squidoo, Hub Pages, Propeller and others to create small sites that provide backlinks to their main sites in order to grab those organic seo rankings.

If this is new to you, check out:

http://www.squidoo.com
http://www.propeller.com
http://www.hubpages.com

The term “backlinks” just means links to a site you’re trying to get ranked in the left side (the non-paid organic side) of Google.

11.  USFREEADS.com continues to be a source of backlinks that gets a little juice with Google.  The game is to take your web site. Then create a little ad on usfreeads and link to your site.

Then build a Squidoo page, Propeller, Hub Page and other Web 2.0 sites and link to the samme.  Or link them all to each other.

Then write articles and submit them to article directories.

Whew!  It’s a LOT of work to grab rankings that’ll probably get zapped by Google in the next SLAP anyway. 

Still, the best, brightest, and most nimble marketers figure out ways to make all the above work.  And if Google changes the rules, they just adapt quickly.

Those who are the most ambitious outsource the whole entire process to India, the Philippines or wherever.

12.  Since Web 2.0 is about people having 2 way communication with businesses, Web 3.0 will be about machines having communication with machines on a 2-way basis.

That’s just crazy.  I have no idea what it means. But I’m equally as certain it’ll happen.

As you can see, your eyes can quickly glaze over with all the options. That’s why I’m an advocate of FIRST doing the basics really, really well.

The basics are still the same. 

a.  You get visitors. 
b.  You build your list. 
c.  You send content to keep readership high
d.  You send periodic offers to make money

For the small business or info product publisher, my recommendations are the same:

Get visitors using an affiliate program, pay-per-click, banner ads, viral and article marketing.

Give ’em good reasons to join your list.

Send out content.

Mix in offers.

As you have time, money and energy, experiment with the new methods that come down the pike monthly.

Marlon Sanders

———————————————————–
Marlon Sanders is the author of “The Info Product Dashboard.”  If you want to create your own info products, go to  http://www.productdashboard.com

Tags: Articles

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Laurie Lacey // Apr 3, 2008 at 2:20 am

    Hi,

    Excellent article!

    It’s nice to see Marlon saying that “The
    basics are still the same.”

    We have to keep those four basic points
    in mind. That alone is enough to give us
    the focus we need for some success online.

    All the best,
    Laurie

  • 2 Rita // Apr 5, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    Dave,
    Good article, but there’s an error. You have a link: Slideshare.com. It should be Slideshare.NET. Slideshare.com is a early stage fund and incubator; Slideshare.NET is the slideshow presentation site.

    Thanks,
    Rita 😀

  • 3 Di // Apr 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

    There is recession in the US that is rapidly spreading to other countries – so we all outsource to cheap base price countries ignoring our own workers who need to feed their families as well.

    I have been down that route and trust me, the amount of time it took me to correct the work means I now outsource to someone in my own country to speaks my language. Amazing thing is they do a far better job.

    Lets root for our country – at the moment we sure need it.

    Di

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